The world was rocked by many events in 2016.
One of those events was the death of the one and only pop icon Prince – losing him at the relatively young age of 57 shocked the world. He had just been around the world on a whirlwind tour. He seemed in good form. The death of his former girlfriend Vanity earlier in the year had hit him hard, but the world was even more shocked in April to learn that Prince had died of an opiate overdose in his amazing home and studio Paisley Park.
Years before his own tragic death, Prince had also lost a baby with former wife Mayte. This meant Prince left no heir to his fortune and his death was followed by various family members staking their claims. Never heard tracks are set to be released on this Friday, 21st April to commemorate the anniversary of his death.
I had the good fortune of meeting Prince in Sydney, Australia, back in 2003. I was lucky enough to attend a sound check and sit next to him at a ‘meet and greet’ for about an hour before a show. He was beautiful. I recall being struck by his stunning face and hair and surprised that a man with his deep voice could also sing flawless falsetto. Prince was an enigma.
We got to ask him questions, I was extremely nervous. Here was a man I had idolised my whole life and I was sitting right next to him. He wore a black tracksuit with white platform flip-flops.
Nervously and without thinking my first question to him was:
What happened to your bike from Purple Rain? Did you get to keep it?
He laughed and with attitude replied:
Did I get to keep it, it’s in my garage! They kept the actors I kept the bike.
This was a dig at Warner, who he was having legal battles with at the time.
My next question was:
Can you remember not knowing how to play the guitar? (he made it look so natural)
Oh yeah – I was really small and my dad gave me a guitar, it was too big for me. We have just done a film clip (Musicology) with a kid who is supposed to be me as a kid and he has that same guitar.
Prince told us that Warner Brothers were so angry with him when he wanted to leave. He complained about taxes in the U.S. and about bootlegging. He also revealed that his song “Let’s Work” was originally called “Let’s rock” and that the record company had made him change the lyric.
He also said at one stage:
Everyone just wants a piece of the purple pie.
Prince was annoyed that Warner would not let him release records as often as he wanted. Prince thought music had changed and that people did not have to prove themselves anymore. He said:
Being on the cover of Rolling Stone used to mean something. They made me bust out five albums before I made the cover.
He talked about a lot of things, he laughed, and he told us that living in the present moment was the most important thing.
On stage Prince was electric with endless energy, we got to dance with him and I got to keep a Prince embossed plectrum that I found on the stage as a memento.
The year 2016 started with the death of musical legend David Bowie and by the end of the year the world had lost so many more stars. The morning Prince died, I woke to read message after message sending condolences, at first I thought someone in my family had died.
Prince was different, he was pretty and macho and talented and funky and sexual and groundbreaking.
2016 took many legends away!
For me the loss of the purple one hurt the most. Thank goodness he left us so much music.
Watch Prince play at the Superbowl half time show in 2007:
Featured image via YouTube.